Temperate Rainforest Biogeochemistry and Ecophysiology

Fall Open
Class Standing
Dylan Fischer
Carri LeRoy

Temperate rainforests are poorly understood and highly valued ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and other coastal landscapes around the world. This type of ecosystem supports complex interactions among constituents of the atmosphere, the forest, and the underlying geology. By focusing on the biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling of the forest, we will understand the interplay between the biotic and abiotic components of these ecosystems. We will examine the pools and fluxes of organic and inorganic nutrients as well as the processes that link them.

We will examine forest ecosystem science in temperate rainforests worldwide, and our lectures and field labs will emphasize the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier National Park, with a multiple-day field trip at the beginning of the quarter. Students will gain field experience with long-term studies. Students will acquire experience with various sampling techniques that are used measure nitrogen, water, and carbon in forested ecosystems in lab exercises in forest biogeochemistry that will span both quarters. In winter, students will deepen their understanding by gaining proficiency in laboratory techniques and instrumentation methods for measurement of carbon, nitrogen, and water flux. Weekly seminars will focus on reading a major biogeochemistry text and understanding scientific articles from the primary literature. Each student will develop a scientific research proposal throughout fall quarter, and a research methods review in winter. We will also visit forests to examine the impacts of anthropogenic influences on temperate rainforest ecosystems. Readings and guest lectures will introduce students to major ecological and biogeochemistry issues for temperate rainforests.


This program assumes that students are ready for upper-division work in the sciences. Students should have prior lower-division experiences in chemistry, biology, and/or math. Students should consult directly with the faculty before enrolling if they have not taken any lower division offerings in biology.

Signature Required

New students are welcome in winter, but should demonstrate prerequisites and develop winter-break reading schedule to get a faculty signature prior to registration.

Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 20161

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10065

Academic Details

Climate change studies, biology, botany, environmental chemistry, ecology, forest ecology, ecological forestry, environmental studies, field studies, natural history, and technical writing.


Fall quarter:$252 total fee: $50 required lab fee and $202 for a multi-day field trip

Winter quarter: $178 total fee, $50 required lab fee and $128 for a multi-day field trip

In fall, up to 16 credits of upper-division science credit may be awarded in forest ecology, biogeochemistry, global climate science, and GIS upon successful completion of the program objectives in fall. Winter quarter will offer similar credits including analytical methods in carbon and nitrogen analysis, statistics, and scientific writing. Upper division credit will be given for upper division work as defined by the faculty.


In Person (F)
In Person (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
LAB 1 3046 - Class Lab


Date Revision 2023-01-04 Student fees adjusted: $128 added to winter quarter, removed from fall. 2022-11-15 $50 required fee increase in winter quarter